The best drawing tablet: our pick of the best graphics tablets in 2017

Investing in the best drawing tablet for your needs and budget is essential for any digital artist or illustrator. Sure, a standard tablet combined with a decent stylus – or an iPad Pro with iOS 11 – can be used. But buying a dedicated graphics tablet gives illustrators and creative professionals far greater flexibility. 

Throw Black Friday into the mix, and there's never been a better time to pick up a new drawing tablet. You'll find all the best deals on the best drawing tablets right here in this buying guide.

Or, if you're willing to purchase an older model, or a graphics tablet that hasn't quite made it into our list of the best, head over to our roundup of the best Black Friday deals for designers to see what you can find. (And don't forget, there's always Cyber Monday, too)

So which model is best for you? Well, there's a huge range of drawing tablets on the market – from powerful, feature-packed drawing tablets that come with high resolution touchscreens and advanced features, to mid-range and budget graphics tablets that find a balance between price and power. We'll help you decide which is best for you. We'll also show you which is the best Wacom tablet – and which are the best alternatives.

First, the basics. Some drawing tablets display your artwork on their touchscreens as you draw, while others plug into your PC and display your illustrations on the monitor. The first option is better for artists who like to draw on the move; the second is more affordable, and enables you to see your work on a larger, higher resolution screen.

To help you decide, we've curated the best drawing tablets on the market right now. Read on to find the perfect graphics tablet for your needs.

01. Wacom MobileStudio Pro 13

The overall best drawing tablet for professional artists and creatives.

Weight: 1.42kg | Dimensions: 367 x 229 x 16mm | OS: Windows 10 | Screen size: 13.3-inch | Resolution: 2560 x 1440 | CPU: 6th generation Intel Core | RAM: 4 – 16GB | Storage: 64GB – 512GB | microSD slot: SDXC | Battery: 6 hours | Stylus: Wacom Pro Pen 2

Fantastic display
Excellent stylus
Customisable express keys
Expensive
Low battery life

 Wacom is a name that will be familiar to most digital artists – and for good reason. Its excellent range of drawing tablets dominate the market. Our best drawing tablet – and, indeed, best Wacom tablet – is the fantastic Wacom MobileStudio Pro 13. 

The feature-packed graphics tablet has been specially designed for professional creatives. It boasts a gorgeous, high resolution screen that's a joy to draw on thanks to the impressive Wacom Pro Pen 2 stylus, along with powerful components that keep the Wacom MobileStudio Pro 13 feeling responsive.

Colour accuracy is excellent, making the tablet fit for high-end print production work. And if you feel the 13.3-inch, WQHD display is a little too restrictive, you can get a 16-inch model with UHD (3840 x 2160) resolution instead.

Read more: Wacom MobileStudio Pro review 

02. Wacom Cintiq Pro

The best creative pen display for digital artists and illustrators.

Weight: 1.5kg | Dimensions: 410 x 265 x 17.5mm | Screen size: 15.6-inch | Resolution: 3840 x 2160 | Stylus: Wacom Pro Pen 2

Stunning display
Accurate colour reproduction
Very responsive 
Pro Pen 2
Expensive
Expresskey Remote costs extra

Another impressive offering from the company is the incredible Wacom Cintiq Pro, which upgrades the fantastic Cintiq 13HD tablet, our previous best Wacom tablet.

The Cintiq Pro comes in two models – a 4K 16-inch version, and 13-inch full HD version. Both are excellent, but our top pick is the 16-inch. The larger model’s stunning 4K IPS display is colour accurate and pin sharp with good contrast levels, and the pixel density means you don’t ever feel like you’re working with a screen. The drawing experience is incredible.

Some express keys would be helpful (there’s an optional $9999/£89.99 Expresskey Remote). But the star of the show is the Pro Pen 2: it's excellent, with sensitivity increased to over 8000 levels, and visually non-existent lag. 

This is a truly impressive drawing tablet. You'll find the best prices for the 16-inch Wacom Cintiq Pro above. Read our review of the Wacom Cintiq Pro.

And if you prefer the cheaper 13-inch model, with its portability benefits, then you’re also making a sound choice. There’s a small sacrifice in colour rendition, but this doesn’t get in the way of a good painting session – and the difference in price makes this a brilliant value choice for any digital artist

03. Huion 1060Plus Graphic Tablet

The best drawing tablet for beginners.

Weight: 0.77kg | Dimensions: 360 x 240 x 10mm | Screen size: 10-inch | Resolution: 5080 LPI (Lines Per Inch) | Stylus: Rechargeable pen

Great price
Good feature set
Not wireless
Not multi touch

The Huion 1060Plus Graphic Tablet is our pick of the best drawing tablet for beginners. It has a low price, yet comes with enough features that you won’t find yourself held back once your ability and confidence grows. 

The graphics tablet works with both Windows and Mac machines, and despite its low price, still performs well – offering a quick response time as you use the stylus. 

The stylus itself isn’t as feature-packed as ones that come with (more expensive) Wacom graphics tablets, but it does the job well. It also comes with accessories including an artist glove, anti-scratch cover and more, making it an excellent choice for your first drawing tablet.

04. Huion H610 Pro Graphics Drawing Pen Tablet

Best budget graphics tablet.

Weight: 1.11kg | Dimensions: 353 x 245 x 10mm | Screen size: 10-inch | Resolution: 5080 LPI (Lines Per Inch) | Stylus: Rechargeable pen

Great value
Thin design
Doesn't have great build quality
Not wireless

If you’re on a tight budget, but don’t want to make too many compromises, then the Huion H610 Pro Graphics Drawing Pen Tablet is an excellent choice. Its low price and lightweight design mean it’s the ideal tablet to sling into your bag while you travel. 

It connects to your PC or Mac via a USB cable, and it comes with a good array of features despite its budget price, such as built-in keys along the side of the workspace, and a rechargeable stylus that comes with five nibs. 

This doesn’t come with the stylish design and build quality of more expensive drawing tablets, but considering its price, you get plenty of features and a solid performance from the Huion H610.

05. iPad Pro 12.9 (2017)

The best Apple drawing tablet

Weight: 6.77kg | Dimensions: 305.7 x 220.6 x 6.9mm | Screen size: 12.9-inch | Resolution: 2732 x 2048 pixels | Stylus: Not included

Fantastic screen
Powerful
Large
Expensive

This year’s iPad Pro is an excellent choice if you’re looking for an Apple-made tablet. Sure, it’s not a dedicated graphics tablet, but the fact that the iPad Pro can be used for other tasks as well as drawing means that despite its high price tag, it could be a canny investment. 

It doesn’t come with a stylus included, but you can use third party ones – or Apple’s own Pencil stylus, which along with a huge range of apps available from the App store, means you can comfortably use the iPad Pro as a drawing tablet without making compromises. 

As we’ve come to expect from Apple devices, the screen is excellent, and although the large display size makes this a big tablet to carry around, it’s also incredibly thin and light. Overall, this if you're looking for an Apple-made graphics tablet, this is a well built and desirable device.

Read more: iPad Pro 12.9 (2017) review

06. Samsung Galaxy Tab S3

The best Android drawing tablet.

Weight: 4.29kg | Dimensions: 237.3 x 169 x 6mm | Screen size: 9.7-inch | Resolution: 1536 x 2048 pixels | Stylus: S Pen

Great design
HDR screen
Expensive
Small screen

If you’d rather have an Android-powered tablet that can double as a drawing tablet, then the Samsung Galaxy Tab S3 is an excellent choice. It comes with Samsung’s S Pen stylus, and the screen is responsive enough to draw on. 

The Google Play Store is home to a huge amount of digital art apps as well, and there’s the flexibility that comes with a tablet that can also browse the web, send emails and much more. 

You may find the screen size a little cramped, but it’s bright and vibrant, with very good colour accuracy. It also means that the size of this tablet is kept down, making it easy to carry around with you.

Read more: TechRadar’s Samsung Galaxy Tab S3 review

07. XP-Pen Artist 10S

Best compact drawing tablet.

Weight: 1.27kg | Dimensions: 301 x 209 x 5mm | Screen size: 10.1-inch | Resolution: 1280x 800 pixels | Stylus: Battery-free stylus

Small
Light
Low resolution screen
Needs configuring for best results

The XP-Pen Artist 10S is the best graphics tablet for anyone looking for something that's small, light and highly portable. Thanks to its small design, you can carry it with you everywhere for when inspiration strikes. The design means the screen size is also shrunk, as is its resolution, but it’s a price worth paying for if you're after the ultimate portable graphics tablet. 

Buttons along the side of the screen enable you to quickly change settings on the go, and the drawing experience is responsive and accurate with the included stylus. 

There are a few niggles here – it’s a bit more complicated to set up and requires two USB cables to connect to your PC. And you may find you need to tweak a couple of settings to get the best results. But with it all set up and ready to go, you’ll be very pleased with the XP-Pen Artist 10S.